NEW YORK — Twenty six times, Serena Williams had played a grand slam match in 2015. And all 26 times she emerged triumphant. But in her 27th encounter, Williams came unstuck against an Italian, Roberta Vinci, who wasn’t even seeded at the U.S. Open.
Vinci, best known for formerly being the world’s top-ranked doubles player, stunned Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4 to end the American’s chances of completing the calendar-year grand slam.
Williams had toiled in quite a few of her past grand slam tussles this year but always found a way to win. Not against the 43rd-ranked Vinci, though, who not only overturned a set deficit but came back from 2-0 down in the third.
So, instead of Williams trying to emulate Steffi Graf’s achievement of 1988, it will be an all Italian U.S. Open final Saturday after Flavia Pennetta upset Simona Halep 6-3 6-1 in Friday’s first women’s semifinal.